New Shop: The Cheese Traveler, Albany NY
Albany now has a proper cheesemonger, thanks to The Cheese Traveler, aka Eric Paul (blogging at http://thecheesetraveler.com/ and on Facebook), who opened the doors on his shop a few months ago with a soft launch and has been expanding the offerings of both cheese in the case and gourmet food products on the shelves. I recently had the opportunity to visit the shop while I was home for the holidays (I hail from 45 minutes south of Albany) and can happily recommend this shop to anyone in the region looking for cheese.
Eric has a solid cheese resumé, having spent time at Formaggio Kitchen (a training ground for many future cheese shop owners, including Vince Maniaci from the recently-visited The Cheese Iron in Portland, ME) as well as starting and managing the cheese departments for Albany coops before striking out on his own. Eric and the rest of the Traveler team are passionate and knowledgeable about cheese and happy to talk curds, give out samples and recommend pairings and platings with the customers ‘til the cows come home.
Located on Delaware Avenue, right next door to All Good Bakers bakery (a fortuitous matching if you’re shopping for cheese and bread), The Cheese Traveler carries both domestic and European cheeses and offers cheeses from affineurs and distributors like Rodolphe Le Meunier and Quality Cheese (Hostettler). I sampled several noteworthy wheels, including the Tome d’Aquitaine and herb-crusted Tome de Bordeaux, both from famed affineur Jean d’Alos, the Torta de Trujillo, a beautiful little puck of Spanish washed-rind ewe’s milk cheese (recently reviewed), the alpine Bergkäse Unterwasser, and many more.
In addition to cheese, Cheese Traveler will be offering a wide variety of complimentary products, including preserves, condiments, crackers, sweet treats, charcuterie and much more. The Traveler also carries organic, grass-fed beef and meats from Tilldale Farm. They’re also happy to cater events or do guided tastings.
So if you’re ever in or near Albany, check out The Cheese Traveler! The Albany Times-Union blogged about them back around their soft-opening, I like their suggestion of hitting the Traveler when you’re on your way to or from a movie at The Spectrum, one of the best indie movie houses in the region.
The Cheese Traveler
540 Delaware Ave, Albany NY (map).
11am-7pm Tuesday through Saturday; 1-6pm Sunday; closed Mondays.
Brooklyn has a new cheese and foods shop, in the Bay Ridge neighborhood of South Brooklyn (via the New York Times):
Reinvention With the Family Name
By FLORENCE FABRICANT
Unlike many of the 30-somethings in the food business in Brooklyn, Louis Coluccio Jr. did not change careers and take up pickling or baking. His grandfather Domenico Coluccio started an Italian food importing and distribution business, D. Coluccio & Sons, in Bensonhurst some 50 years ago. Last year, Louis (shown above), 30, and his wife, Alison, saw a storefront in Bay Ridge that had been a butcher and decided to open a shop there. “There’s a tradition of family owned and operated places, stores, restaurants in this neighborhood,” he said. “If anything, the Italian identity is getting stronger.”
The new store, with counter seating for eight, sells groceries, baked goods, produce, cheeses and cured meats. Mr. Coluccio said he seeks Brooklyn suppliers, like Salvatore BKLYN ricotta, Bien Cuit breads, Brooklyn Cured sausages and Steve’s Authentic Key lime pies, and will sell fresh pizza dough from DiFara in Midwood. In a couple of weeks, the kitchen will start cranking out prepared foods like porchetta and Sicilian bucatini pie.
A. L. Coluccio, 8613 Third Avenue (86th Street), Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, (718) 836-3200.
Murray’s Cheese Bar is officially OPEN. This is the menu. Need I say more?
Murray’s Cheese Bar
264 Bleecker St
Open Daily 5pm-1am
Cheese might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Reno, Nevada, but on a recent trip through the area, I heard from cheesemonger Courtney at the local Whole Foods about a new cheese shop that was opening in the neighborhood known as Midtown, an area just south of the main strip that is rapidly evolving into a little foodie mecca, with restaurants, boutiques and cafes opening up and down the block. It turned out that I was just a wee bit early; Wedge, A Cheese Shop was setting to open Tuesday the 24th, but I was flying out Monday! Fortunately, owners Peter and Laura were kind enough to invite me in to check out the space despite their being in the last-minute tornado of activities before the big day and the shelves and cheese cases still being set up.
Laura Conrow and Peter Burge, the co-owners of the shop, have deep roots in the West Coast food scene and have been involved with cheese on many levels, including, for Laura, as one of the organizers of the California Artisan Cheese Festival, and bring a deep knowledge of and familiarity with the cheeses of the region.
Wedge will have cheese, charcuterie and everything else you might need for a proper cheese plate in the Nevada desert or Sierra mountains. When I asked Laura about Nevada cheese makers, she said the state still had some catching up to do, especially when compared to the cheese strongholds of California and Oregon just across the border, but that there would be locally produced Mexican-style cheeses on the shelves and hopefully more in the future (aspiring cheese makers take note: Nevada is ripe for development).